CCNet TERRA 15/2003 - 2 April 2003

"A review of more than 200 climate studies led by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has determined that the 20th century is neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1000 years. While 20th century temperatures are much higher than in the Little Ice Age period, many parts of the world show the medieval warmth to be greater than that of the 20th century."
--Christine Lafon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"Official Science is not made up of working research scientists, but rather staffs of scientific bureaucracies, national and international science panels, and so on. These members of Official Science aren't appointed by scientists to speak on their behalf, but are middlemen who control the distribution of research money and define "scientific truth" for the public. They have the job of striking "a mad compromise between the realities of politics and the realities of nature," writes McKitrick. "So while scientists are skeptical of their own work and that of others, Official Science speaks with the simple confidence that good politics requires and journalism demands, but which science abhors."
--Paul Georgia, Tech Central Station, 28 March 2003

    Christine Lafon <>

    NASA News <>

    CO2 Science Magazine, 2 April 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 2 April 2003

    Tech Central Station, 28 March 2003

    Franz Dullaart <>

    John Michael Williams <>

    Andrew Glikson <>

    Scripps Howard News Service, 26 March 2003


>From Christine Lafon <>

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Release No: 03-10
For Immediate Release: March 31, 2003

Cambridge, MA -- A review of more than 200 climate studies led by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has determined that the 20th century is neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1000 years. The review also confirmed that the Medieval Warm Period of 800 to 1300 A.D. and the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1900 A.D. were worldwide phenomena not limited to the European and North American continents. While 20th century temperatures are much higher than in the Little Ice Age period, many parts of the world show the medieval warmth to be greater than that of the 20th century.

Smithsonian astronomers Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, with co-authors Craig Idso and Sherwood Idso (Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change) and David Legates (Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware), compiled and examined results from more than 240 research papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. Their report, covering a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators, provides a detailed look at climate changes that occurred in different regions around the world over the last 1000 years.

"Many true research advances in reconstructing ancient climates have occurred over the past two decades," Soon says, "so we felt it was time to pull together a large sample of recent studies from the last 5-10 years and look for patterns of variability and change. In fact, clear patterns did emerge showing that regions worldwide experienced the highs of the Medieval Warm Period and lows of the Little Ice Age, and that 20th century temperatures are generally cooler than during the medieval warmth."

Soon and his colleagues concluded that the 20th century is neither the warmest century over the last 1000 years, nor is it the most extreme. Their findings about the pattern of historical climate variations will help make computer climate models simulate both natural and man-made changes more accurately, and lead to better climate forecasts especially on local and regional levels. This is especially true in simulations on timescales ranging from several decades to a century.

Historical Cold, Warm Periods Verified

Studying climate change is challenging for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the bewildering variety of climate indicators - all sensitive to different climatic variables, and each operating on slightly overlapping yet distinct scales of space and time. For example, tree ring studies can yield yearly records of temperature and precipitation trends, while glacier ice cores record those variables over longer time scales of several decades to a century.

Soon, Baliunas and colleagues analyzed numerous climate indicators including: borehole data; cultural data; glacier advances or retreats; geomorphology; isotopic analysis from lake sediments or ice cores, tree or peat celluloses (carbohydrates), corals, stalagmite or biological fossils; net ice accumulation rate, including dust or chemical counts; lake fossils and sediments; river sediments; melt layers in ice cores; phenological (recurring natural phenomena in relation to climate) and paleontological fossils; pollen; seafloor sediments; luminescent analysis; tree ring growth, including either ring width or maximum late-wood density; and shifting tree line positions plus tree stumps in lakes, marshes and streams.

"Like forensic detectives, we assembled these series of clues in order to answer a specific question about local and regional climate change: Is there evidence for notable climatic anomalies during particular time periods over the past 1000 years?" Soon says. "The cumulative evidence showed that such anomalies did exist."

The worldwide range of climate records confirmed two significant climate periods in the last thousand years, the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period. The climatic notion of a Little Ice Age interval from 1300 to 1900 A.D. and a Medieval Warm Period from 800 to 1300 A.D. appears to be rather well-confirmed and wide-spread, despite some differences from one region to another as measured by other climatic variables like precipitation, drought cycles, or glacier advances and retreats.

"For a long time, researchers have possessed anecdotal evidence supporting the existence of these climate extremes," Baliunas says. "For example, the Vikings established colonies in Greenland at the beginning of the second millennium that died out several hundred years later when the climate turned colder. And in England, vineyards had flourished during the medieval warmth. Now, we have an accumulation of objective data to back up these cultural indicators."

The different indicators provided clear evidence for a warm period in the Middle Ages. Tree ring summer temperatures showed a warm interval from 950 A.D. to 1100 A.D. in the northern high latitude zones, which corresponds to the "Medieval Warm Period." Another database of tree growth from 14 different locations over 30-70 degrees north latitude showed a similar early warm period. Many parts of the world show the medieval warmth to be greater than that of the 20th century.

The study -- funded by NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the American Petroleum Institute -- will be published in the Energy and Environment journal. A shorter paper by Soon and Baliunas appeared in the January 31, 2003 issue of the Climate Research journal.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of key climate indicators are available online at

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists organized into six research divisions study the origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the universe.

For more information, contact:

David Aguilar, Director of Public Affairs
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Christine Lafon, Public Affairs Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


>From NASA News <>

Elvia H. Thompson
Headquarters, Washington March 28, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1696)

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.
(Phone: 818/354-0474)

RELEASE: 03-125


Ozone depletion over Earth's Arctic region varies widely from year to year in its amount, timing and pattern of loss. That's the conclusion of a research team using data from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.

The findings, published in the current issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, provide the first consistent, three-dimensional picture of ozone loss during multiple Arctic winters. The findings confirm previous Arctic ozone loss estimate variations.

"This work provides a consistent picture of how Arctic ozone loss varies between winters," said lead researcher Dr. Gloria Manney, a senior research scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Scientists will have a better understanding of current Arctic ozone conditions and be better able to predict variations in the future."

Manney said NASA's unique vantage point in space provides data needed by policy makers. "They need accurate data to show whether current regulations on ozone-depleting substances are having the desired effect," she said. "In this way, NASA is providing a vital piece of the puzzle needed to understand this global phenomenon."
Ozone is a form of oxygen that shields life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Earth's stratospheric ozone layer is thinning around the world outside of the tropics. This thinning is a result of chlorofluorocarbons produced by industrial processes, which form reactive compounds like chlorine monoxide in the stratosphere during winter. To date, ozone loss has been most pronounced over Antarctica, where colder conditions encourage greater ozone loss and result in ozone "hole."

Higher temperatures and other differences in atmospheric conditions in the Arctic have thus far prevented similarly large depletions. Nevertheless, as Manney and her colleagues validated in 1994, widespread Arctic ozone loss also occurs, and scientists are eager to understand it better, since formation of Arctic ozone "hole" could negatively affect populations in Earth's far northern latitudes.

Many uncertainties remain regarding ozone depletion. Scientists want to know what is causing ozone decreases in Earth's mid latitudes. They also wish to assess effects of climate change on future ozone loss, especially in the northern hemisphere high latitudes.

In the new study, Manney's team reanalyzed MLS observations during seven Arctic winters (1991 - 2000) to estimate chemical ozone loss. To yield accurate estimates, the team developed a model to account for naturally occurring ozone variations resulting from atmospheric transport processes
such as wind variability. Their results show large year-to-year variability in the amount, timing and patterns of Arctic ozone loss. Ozone depletion was observed in the Arctic vortex each year except 1998, when temperatures were too high for chemical ozone destruction. This vortex is a band of strong winds encircling the North Pole in winter like a giant whirlpool. Inside the vortex, temperatures are low and ozone-destroying chemical are confined. Ozone loss was most rapid near the vortex edge, with the biggest losses in 1993 and 1996. The greatest loses occurred in the months of February and March.

The variability in the size, location and duration of the Arctic vortex is driven by meteorological conditions. High mountains and land-sea boundaries in the northern hemisphere
interact with wind variations to generate vast atmospheric undulations that displace air as they travel around Earth. These waves form in the troposphere (the lowest atmospheric layer), where they produce our winter storms, and propagate upward, depositing their energy in the stratosphere. The energy from these waves warms the stratosphere, suppressing formation of polar stratospheric clouds necessary for ozone destruction. Arctic ozone loss tends to be greatest in years when these wave motions are unusually weak.

NASA's MLS experiments measure naturally occurring microwave thermal emissions from the limb of Earth's atmosphere to remotely sense vertical profiles of selected atmospheric gases, temperature and pressure. These data are unique in their ability to show the three-dimensional evolution of
ozone loss over time. The Microwave Limb Sounder on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite was the first such experiment in space. A next-generation MLS, developed and built at JPL for the Aura mission of NASA's Earth Observing System, is scheduled for launch in 2004. That instrument will provide simultaneous observations of ozone and one or more long-lived trace gases, substantially advancing future studies of ozone loss. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about the Microwave Limb Sounder, see:


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 2 April 2003

Among the highly publicized doom-and-gloom scenarios that are alleged to attend the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content are predicted increases in the frequency and severity of storms. As a result, and in an effort to determine if these predictions have any validity, many scientists are examining historical and proxy storm records in an attempt to determine how temperature changes of the past millennium have impacted this aspect of earth's climate. This summary reviews what some of them have learned about storm trends in Europe.

A number of studies have reported increases in North Atlantic storminess over the past two decades (Jones et al., 1997; Gunther et al., 1998; Dickson et al., 2000). Since climate alarmists claim this period to have been one of the warmest -- if not the warmest -- of the entire past millennium, this observation might appear to vindicate their view of the subject. When a much longer time period is considered, however, just the opposite is found to be true.

Dawson et al. (2002), for example, scoured daily meteorological records of the Royal Meteorological Society held in the archives of the Society's Scottish Office in Edinburgh for Stornoway (Outer Hebrides), Lerwick (Shetland Islands), Wick (Caithness) and Fair Isle (west of the Shetland Islands), recovering all data pertaining to gale-force winds over the period 1876-1996, which enabled them to reconstruct a history of storminess for that period for northern and northwestern Scotland.

Analysis of the data showed that although North Atlantic storminess and associated North Atlantic wave heights have indeed increased over the past two decades, "storminess in the North Atlantic region was considerably more severe during parts of the nineteenth century than in recent decades." In addition, whereas the modern increase in storminess appears to be associated with a recent spate of substantial positive values of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, they say "this was not the case during the period of exceptional storminess at the close of the nineteenth century." During that earlier period, the conditions that determine modern storminess were apparently overpowered by something even more potent, i.e., cold temperatures. The cold temperatures, in the view of the authors, led to an expansion of sea ice in the Greenland Sea, which expanded and intensified the Greenland anticyclone, which then led to the North Atlantic cyclone track being displaced farther south. A similar hypothesis has been expressed by Clarke et al. (2002), who postulate that a southward spread of sea ice and polar water results in an increased thermal gradient between 50N and 65N that intensifies storm activity in the North Atlantic and supports dune formation in the Aquitaine region of southwest France.

The results of the Dawson et al. analysis indicate that increased storminess and wave heights observed in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past two decades do not appear to be the result of global warming. Rather, they are associated with the most recent periodic increase in the NAO index. Furthermore, a longer historical perspective reveals that North Atlantic storminess was even more severe than it is now in the latter part of the nineteenth century, when it was significantly colder than it is now. In fact, the storminess of that much colder period was so great that it was actually decoupled from the NAO index. Hence, the long view of history suggests that the global warming of the past century or so has actually led to an overall decrease in North Atlantic storminess.

Additional evidence for a century-long decrease in storminess in and around Europe comes from the study of Bijl et al. (1999), who analyzed long-term sea level records from several coastal stations in northwest Europe. According to these authors, "although [the] results show considerable natural variability on relatively short (decadal) time scales," there is "no sign of a significant increase in storminess ... over the complete time period of the data sets."  In the southern portion of the North Sea, however, where natural variability was more moderate, they found "a tendency towards a weakening [our italics] of the storm activity over the past 100 years."

Much the same results were obtained by Pirazzoli (2000), who analyzed tide-gauge, wind and atmospheric pressure data over the period 1951-1997 for the northern portion of the Atlantic coast of France. In that study, the number of atmospheric depressions (storms) and strong surge winds were found to be decreasing in frequency. In addition, it was reported that "ongoing trends of climate variability show a decrease in the frequency and hence the gravity of coastal flooding."

Tide-gauge data have also been utilized as a proxy for historic storm activity in England. Using high-water data from the Liverpool waterfront over the period 1768-1999, Woodworth and Blackman (2002) report that the annual maximum surge-at-high-water declined at a rate of 0.11 0.04 meters per century, suggesting that the winds that are responsible for producing high storm surges were much stronger and/or more common during the early part of the record (colder Little Ice Age) than the latter part (Modern Warm Period).

Lastly, Bielec (2001) analyzed thunderstorm data from Cracow, Poland for the period 1896-1995, finding an average of 25 days of such activity per year, with a non-significant linear-regression-derived increase of 1.6 storm days from the beginning to the end of the record.  From 1930 onward, however, the trend was negative, revealing a similarly-derived decrease of 1.1 storm days. It was also determined there was a decrease in the annual number of thunderstorms with hail over the entire period and a decrease in the frequency of storms producing precipitation in excess of 20 mm.

In conclusion, as the earth has warmed over the past hundred or so years during its recovery from the global chill of the Little Ice Age, there appears to have been no significant increase in either the frequency or intensity of stormy weather in Europe. In fact, most studies suggest just the opposite. This observation, coupled with the fact that storminess in many other regions of the world has also decreased as local or regional temperatures have risen, suggests there is no real-world-data-based reason to believe that storms will suddenly get worse if the earth were to warm somewhat more in the future.

Bielec, Z.  2001.  Long-term variability of thunderstorms and thunderstorm precipitation occurrence in Cracow, Poland, in the period 1896-1995.  Atmospheric Research 56: 161-170.

Bijl, W., Flather, R., de Ronde, J.G. and Schmith, T.  1999.  Changing storminess?  An analysis of long-term sea level data sets.  Climate Research 11: 161-172.

Clarke, M., Rendell, H., Tastet, J-P., Clave, B. and Masse, L.  2002.  Late-Holocene sand invasion and North Atlantic storminess along the Aquitaine Coast, southwest France.  The Holocene 12: 231-238.

Dawson, A.G., Hickey, K., Holt, T., Elliott, L., Dawson, S., Foster, I.D.L., Wadhams, P., Jonsdottir, I., Wilkinson, J., McKenna, J., Davis, N.R. and Smith, D.E.  2002.  Complex North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index signal of historic North Atlantic storm-track changes.  The Holocene 12: 363-369.

Dickson, R.R., Osborn, T.J., Hurrell, J.W., Meincke, J., Blindheim, J., Adlandsvik, B., Vinje, T., Alekseev, G. and Maslowski, W.  2000.  The Arctic Ocean response to the North Atlantic Oscillation.  Journal of Climate 13: 2671-2696.

Gunther, H., Rosenthal, W., Stawarz, M., Carretero, J.C., Gomez, M., Lozano, I., Serrano, O. and Reistad, M.  1998.  The wave climate of the northeast Atlantic over the period 1955-1994: the WASA wave hindcast.  The Global Atmosphere and Ocean System 6: 121-163.

Jones, P.D., Jonsson, T. and Wheeler, D.  1997.  Extension to the North Atlantic Oscillation using early instrumental pressure observations from Gibraltar and South-West Iceland.  International Journal of Climatology 17: 1433-1450.

Pirazzoli, P.A.  2000.  Surges, atmospheric pressure and wind change and flooding probability on the Atlantic coast of France.  Oceanologica Acta 23: 643-661.

Woodworth, P.L. and Blackman, D.L.  2002.  Changes in extreme high waters at Liverpool since 1768.  International Journal of Climatology 22: 697-714.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 2 April 2003

"Large, abrupt, and widespread climate changes with major impacts have occurred repeatedly in the past, when the Earth system was forced across thresholds." Thus begins the abstract of a major new review of the subject of rapid climate change (Alley et al., 2003), which was written by the authors of an earlier National Research Council (NRC) report dealing with the same topic (Alley et al., 2002).

The new review article and the NRC report that inspired it contain both reasonable and illogical proposals. On the sensible side of the ledger is Alley et al.'s (2003) suggestion that policy-makers should consider "improving monitoring systems, and taking actions designed to enhance the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems and economies." Since no one can accurately predict the future trajectory of world climate -- and many cannot even agree what has happened in the past, most notably with respect to the temperature history of the planet -- it should be clear that reliable meteorological monitoring systems are definitely needed. And since we cannot yet actually do anything about either weather or climate, adaptation to what nature brings our way is the only viable option for making the best of whatever climate surprises might possibly confront us in the future.

On the logically-deficient side of the ledger is the authors' suggestion that "human forcing of climate change is increasing the probability of large, abrupt events." It is our contention that not only is this suggestion incorrect, it is fully 180 degrees out of phase with reality.

Consider, for example, the study of Helmke et al. (2002), who developed a history of late Pleistocene climate variability from an analysis of a deep-sea sediment core retrieved from a well-studied ice-rafted debris belt in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. This exercise led them to detect and quantify three distinct levels of climate variability that have been operative over the past half-million years. Their findings? Maximum climate variability occurred during times of either ice sheet growth or ice sheet decay, medium climate variability was the norm during glacial maxima, while minimum climate variability was observed during what Helmke et al. call "peak interglaciations," which are essentially periods of greatest warmth.

Similar conclusions were reached by Oppo et al. (1998) and McManus et al. (1999), also as a result of analyzing real-world data. What is more, Alley et al.'s main model-based scenario of possible human-induced abrupt climate change -- which the NRC authors link to the exceeding of some threshold value of the ocean's thermohaline circulation, which they say could be caused by "warming and associated changes in the hydrological cycle" -- has been challenged by another model study. Based on a set of sensitivity analyses of the response of the ocean's thermohaline circulation to the freshening of North Atlantic surface water that could be caused by the predicted warming of the 21st century, Rind et al. (2001) concluded that one of the two major driving forces of the thermohaline circulation, i.e., North Atlantic deep water formation, "decreases linearly with the volume of fresh water added," and that it does so "without any obvious threshold effects," noting additionally that "the effect is not rapid."

Clearly, if we are dispassionate in the application of logic, and if we really want to do something to reduce the likelihood of abrupt climate change, real-world data pertaining to the planet's palaeoclimatic history (as well as some climate model work) tell us we should be attempting to prevent global cooling. And, in fact, that is precisely what we are doing via our burning of massive quantities of coal, gas and oil.

So how is this grand -- but unplanned -- endeavor progressing? Actually, not very well, for the planet's temperature is running well below "normal." Based on the Antarctic ice-core study of Petit et al. (1999), the present interglacial is more than 2C cooler than all four of the interglacials that preceded it. Although earth's temperature may have risen half a degree C over the last century or so, we can take little credit for that development, as the bulk of the warming was likely a result of the most recent natural upswing of the probably-solar-induced millennial-scale climatic oscillation that is a persistent feature of both glacial and interglacial epochs alike, the two prior upswings of which resulted in the establishment of the Medieval Warm Period and the antecedent Roman Warm Period. In addition, the planet is still considerably cooler than it was throughout the great "climatic optimum" of the mid-Holocene, which itself defined much of the mean temperature of the current interglacial that falls far short of the corresponding mean temperature of the prior four interglacials.

Where does all of this leave us? On the one hand, logic and real-world data suggest that the potentially catastrophic abrupt climate changes discussed by Alley et al. would best be avoided by either maintaining the climatic status quo or by warming. On the other hand, the predictions of manifestly imperfect climate models -- which sometimes predict nearly opposite outcomes, as in the case of the response of the ocean's thermohaline circulation to global warming -- are used by climate alarmists and a host of politicians to mandate measures to resist warming.

These two positions are about as different from each other as night and day. Hence, it should not be too difficult for a reasonably rational person to decide which is the more correct. The question of paramount importance for each of us, therefore, is this: Am I a reasonably rational person?

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso  

Conway, G.R. and Pretty, J.N.  1991.  Unwelcome Harvest: Agriculture and Pollution.  Earthscan, London, UK.

EEA.  1998.  Europe's Environment: The Second Assessment.  European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark.

FAO.  2000.  Agriculture: Towards 2015/30.  Global Perspective Studies Unit, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy.

Idso, C.D. and Idso, K.E.  2000.  Forecasting world food supplies: The impact of the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration.  Technology 7S: 33-55.

Idso, K.E. and Idso, S.B.  1994.  Plant responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment in the face of environmental constraints: a review of the past 10 years' research.  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 69: 153-203.

Mayeux, H.S., Johnson, H.B., Polley, H.W. and Malone, S.R.  1997.  Yield of wheat across a subambient carbon dioxide gradient.  Global Change Biology 3: 269-278.

Pretty, J.N., Morison, J.I.L. and Hine, R.E.  2003.  Reducing food poverty by increasing agricultural sustainability in developing countries.  Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 95: 217-234.

Wood, S., Sebastien, K. and Scherr, S.J.  2000.  Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems.  IFPRI and WRI, Washington, DC.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From Tech Central Station, 28 March 2003

By Paul Georgia
Does the greenhouse effect really work like a greenhouse? Does the average global temperature provide any meaningful climatic information? Is there even a theory of climate? These are some of the questions asked and answered in a new book, Taken by Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming, written by Christopher Essex, a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, and Ross McKitrick, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Guelph.

As the title notes, the book addresses both science and politics. As we shall see, the science underlying global warming alarmism is flimsier than most people, even many scientists, suspect. How we have reached a point where the world is on the verge of putting into force a treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, that would stifle economic growth in the developed countries and preclude it in the third world, in the absence of scientific evidence, demands an answer. The answer lies in the perverse incentives that arise from the subjugation of science to politics.

No Physical Meaning

Essex, who studies the underlying mathematics, physics and computation of complex dynamic processes, raises some very fundamental scientific issues with regard to global warming. Take, for instance, the "average global temperature," which is the primary statistic offered as evidence of global warming. The problem with this statistic is that it has no physical meaning. Temperature is not a thermodynamic variable that lends itself to statistical analysis, nor does it measure a physical quantity.

Thermodynamic variables are of two types, says Essex, extensive and intensive. Extensive variables, like energy or mass, occur in amounts. Intensive variables, such as temperature, refer to conditions of a system. A cup of hot coffee, for example, contains an amount of energy and has a temperature. If you add an equal amount of coffee with the same amount of energy and the same temperature to the cup, the amount of energy doubles, but not the temperature. The temperature remains the same. Thus, while you can add up the energy from two separate systems and get total energy, it is physically meaningless to add up the two systems' temperatures. And dividing that number by two doesn't give you the average temperature either. Such an exercise results in a statistic that has no physical meaning. Yet that is exactly what occurs when the average global temperature is computed.

Moreover, temperature and energy aren't the same thing. The internal energy of a system can change without changing the temperature and the temperature can change while the internal energy of the system remains the same. In fact, this occurs all the time in the climate because the two variables are fundamentally different classes of thermodynamic variables and there is no physical law that requires that they move together. The next time somebody informs you that the planet's "average temperature" has increased, you can rest assured that they have told you exactly nothing.

Flawed Metaphor

Taken by Storm also takes on the greenhouse metaphor. The so-called greenhouse effect does not work like a greenhouse. Incoming solar radiation adds energy to the Earth's climate. To restore radiative balance, the energy must be transported back to space in roughly the same amounts in which it arrived. The energy is transported via two processes - infrared radiation (heat transfer) and fluid dynamics (turbulence). "When you add up the net amount of energy flow away from the surface by pure (infrared) radiation, it turns out to be roughly the same as that carried away by wind, air movements and evaporation," says Essex.

A greenhouse, however, works by preventing fluid motions, such as wind, by enclosing an area with plastic or glass. To restore balance, infrared radiation must increase, thereby causing the temperature to rise. Predicting the resulting temperature increase is a relatively straightforward process. If you think of the climate system as a gigantic greenhouse, it's easy to assume that we can calculate how much the temperature will rise from an increase in greenhouse gases. But the greenhouse picture ignores the fluid dynamics half of the story.

The "greenhouse effect" works differently. Greenhouse gases slow down outgoing infrared radiation, which causes changes in turbulence. But it cannot be predicted what will happen because the equations which govern turbulence cannot be solved! "In the case of turbulence," writes Essex, "we can't even forecast from first principles the average flow in a simple pipe." The climate system is a vastly more complex turbulent system than a pipe. It is impossible to determine from first principles whether an increase in greenhouse gases will lead to warming, cooling or no change.

This is why Essex argues that there is no theory of climate. We do have equations governing turbulence, but not on the enormous scale of climate. "There is no one living on climate scales to observe structures, do experiments or establish physically meaningful structure for us," he says. "We are little better than bacteria in a test tube trying to deduce from first principles what the laboratory ought to look like."

Model Problems

Essex also takes on the practice of parameterization in climate modeling. Parameters are simple numbers that stand in place of tremendously complex climatic processes that we really don't understand. Parameters used in climate models are not derived from theory, which doesn't exist at the level of climate, or from observation, says Essex. "Everything [in the climate models] from convection to clouds, rain and the general cycle of water into and out of the system - everything that has to do with moving energy from the surface of the Earth to space - is made up." This is very important because a slight change in a model parameter can lead to totally different projections.

Climate models, for example, assume that temperature decreases by 6.5 degrees Celsius per kilometer of altitude. At a certain altitude the temperature is such that the amount of radiation entering the climate system equals the amount leaving it. This altitude is known as the "characteristic emission level" (CEL). A doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations causes the CEL to move out about 300 meters. To figure out how this affects the surface, one can simply calculate the temperatures from the CEL by adding 6.5 degrees C per kilometer all the way down to the surface, which shows a warming of about 2 degrees C at the surface.

The problem with this exercise is that there is no single rate at which temperature changes with altitude. It varies from 4 to 10 degrees C. Nor is there a single level for the CEL, but an infinite number of levels. The 6.5 degree C figure is just a parameter based on a simplistic model of the atmosphere. If you change that parameter to 6.2 degrees C the projected warming disappears. At 6.1 degrees C the model projects cooling. "The models show surface warming from adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because of their programming," says Essex. "They could yield surface cooling with different programming, without violating any physical law. All that is required is to allow things to change in the model that do in fact change in the atmosphere."

'Official Science'

Surely scientists are aware of these issues (and many others discussed in the book). If so, then how have we come to a place where the media and politicians repeatedly state that there is a scientific consensus that the planet is warming up, it is caused by man, and the effects will be catastrophic? Dr. McKitrick offers a very convincing explanation. He discusses several relevant groups, but we'll focus on politicians and what McKitrick calls "Official Science."

Politicians need big issues around which they can form winning coalitions. Global warming is great because it is a complex and baffling scientific issue that can be reduced to a simple matter of "warming" without the public being the wiser, and it allows politicians the prospect of becoming global statesman and proposing heroic planet-saving initiatives. However, such initiatives can be very costly, so politicians need a high degree of scientific support.

This is where Official Science comes in. Official Science is not made up of working research scientists, but rather staffs of scientific bureaucracies, national and international science panels, and so on. These members of Official Science aren't appointed by scientists to speak on their behalf, but are middlemen who control the distribution of research money and define "scientific truth" for the public. They have the job of striking "a mad compromise between the realities of politics and the realities of nature," writes McKitrick. "So while scientists are skeptical of their own work and that of others, Official Science speaks with the simple confidence that good politics requires and journalism demands, but which science abhors."

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the premier representative of Official Science. Its governing principles state that it shall concentrate its activities on "actions in support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process." This is Official Science in the service of politics. The IPCC has repeatedly proclaimed that it represents "the consensus" on global warming science. Former IPCC Chairman Robert Watson stated in 2001 that the IPCC's summary report added "impetus for governments of the world to find ways to live up to their commitments ... to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."

So what can be done to fix this problem of science shilling for politics? How do we "make sure science is free to investigate [climate change], without having to prove constantly that this or that is relevant to policy issues?" Essex and McKitrick offer a modest proposal. Instead of one IPCC report, there should be two reports. One report would be written by global warming alarmists and the other by global warming skeptics, each drawn from the ranks of scientists. Each group would make the best case for its position and provide a rebuttal of the other's position. There would be no summaries written by Official Science middlemen to "interpret" the meaning of the two reports. If politicians wanted to know the state of the science, they would have to read the reports themselves and come to their own conclusions.

Will it happen? Not likely. Official Science isn't about to relinquish its monopoly on defining scientific truth, nor the perquisites (good pay, travel to exotic locations) of its position.

Paul Georgia is an environmental policy analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2003, Tech Central Station



>From Franz Dullaart <>

Hi Benny

You may be interested in this story which appeared in this moring's (1 April) Cape Times. I hope it's not intended to be an April Fool joke! However, IF the sea level were to rise, the dire predictions would come true.

Table Mountain: an island in 30 years
Robben Island and much of Cape Town permanently submerged... Table Mountain an island within 30 years - that's the shocking picture painted in a report by the Institute for Global Warming and Sea Level Changes. The report, which was leaked to the Cape Times, had been kept under wraps for fear of creating panic and causing havoc with property prices

Full story here:



>From John Michael Williams <>

Hi Benny.

SADDAM (Tue, 1 Apr 2003) which concluded that depleted uranium (DU) was not toxic as used in warfare.

I would like to point out that uranium is a heavy metal, and it is a cumulative poison which
damages especially the kidneys. Merely because one dose doesn't obviously kill or sicken those
nearby is not valid evidence that it is safe. The same biopollyannaism was the cause of the
asbestos catastrophe, and it allowed tobacco companies to market cigarettes for years.

Furthermore, unlike tungsten, which is about equally toxic, uranium is radioactive. Thus,
local damage because of (mainly alpha) radiation has to be factored in. Both chemically and
radiologically, uranium is cumulatively harmful. Veterans with DU shrapnel in their bodies
have been found to be excreting uranium for years after being wounded.

The second issue is the way it is delivered in combat: The projectile essentially disintegrates into a blob of energized dust, somewhat like a high-energy interaction in a particle accelerator.  It is converted to a fine dust which then may be inhaled by persons in the target (usually a tank or ship).

It would be illegal under the 1925 Geneva Protocol to pulverize lead or uranium and deliver it as a cloud of dust over enemy trenches; so, what is the argument that DU dust from a projectile is not a violation of this law? Aren't exploding bullets (dumdums) illegal? Is it legal because we
have a lot of it and it is effective?  This argument would work for chlorine gas, too . . ..
All the WWI vererans are dead now, so I guess it's OK.  Who's going to complain?

Reviews of the toxicity issues of DU in combat may be found at:

Specific issues of damage during the 1991 Gulf War and the Balkan War are at:

The actual effectiveness of DU vs tungsten is studied at

So far as I know, the only nontoxic heavy metal is bismuth. I would advocate this metal as a replacement of DU in ammunition. It currently is used in bird shot, and, like DU, it is more effective than the mildly toxic lead it replaces.

                     John Michael Williams


>From Andrew Glikson <>


Attempts at reaching high ENDS through the use of the lowest MEANS, including murder and genocide, reduce any ENDS to mere banner under which men devoid of a sense of humanity and justice rise yet again to harness the gullible masses for wars against each other and the destruction of the biosphere.

At the beginning was the WORD - Ludwig Wittgenstein, George Orwell, Noam Chomsky and (to make a distinction) Joseph Goebbels - knew how inexorably catch cries, buzz words and superlatives rush the collective adrenaline into the collective brain, translating fear into hate into aggression and war, that cyclic ritual mass sacrifice unique to the species "Homo Sapiens".

With nauseating predictability, as memories of the vast carnage of WWII fade, once again drums are beating, heralding a clash between true believers in a desert sky god and disciples of the global market force. An examination of the language, slogans and aphorisms used to fuel the looming conflicts reveals but empty lies on every side. Examples abound.

Traditionally followers of ancient vengeful gods never cease to dehumanize the "infidel", the alien and the weak, not least women - veiled and subjected to "honor killing" or stoning, whether the Taliban or the 16th century French Catholic church (where six million women were burnt on the stake as "witches"). Religion seems to have made little difference to slavery and mass murder, whether of Africans by Moslem slave traders or of Indians by Spanish gold seekers, leaving entire continents in ruin.   

Under the banner of Arian supremacy Teutonic warriors of the 3rd Reich went on a cowardly genocide of helpless populations, defiling any claims for "honor". Revolutions eat their own sons - under pretexts for social justice Stalin's secret police annihilated the idealists and betrayed their own troops. Under the banner of democracy - the "people's rule" - the Athenians legitimized the privileges of land and ship owners at the expense of war captives and slaves. In more recent history the democratic ideal was corrupted by the rise to the likes of Adolph Hitler, who never hid his genocidal plans as manifested in "Mine Kampf"! More than 50 million lost their lives as a result of the 1933 German elections. Three million Vietnamese were napalm bombed in their rice paddies in the name of freedom. Once banners are placed ahead of human lives and basic human needs - its all the same for the victims.

Nor can salvation be found in Milton Friedman's market force, the antithesis of Keynesian liberalism, a force that chops the hand of a hungry child for "stealing" a loaf of bread in an oriental marketplace, or enslaves peasants to cash crops. Greed as an automatic economic panacea run by snake oil merchants is but the latest myth and a guise for the re-emergence of the "survival of the fittest" paradigm.

That much of the world is run by subterranean networks of drug rings, arms dealers and intelligence agencies is more than a conspiracy theory. That the west is ruled by big corporations as much as by elected governments is a truism.

How shocked were the Romans at Spartacus' uprising, the victories of slaves to which the Romans accorded no humanity. How little can affluent suburbia-international comprehend the despair of starving masses in Africa and in Asia. Little effort is undertaken to heal the roots of  conflict. With this failure, fundamentalist forces whose simple minded "solutions" hinge on racial genocide are once again on the rise.

Whether the next carnage is rationalized by the arms trade, oil or just the innate destructiveness of the species, the very re-invention of George Orwell's 'Newspeak' with its self-congratulatory superlatives heralds the demise of ideals generations fought and died for - peace, social justice, the United Nations. Nowadays "winners" never tire of writing themselves into history, boasting a "competitive edge" or "world's best practice" - including the practice of planetary ecocide.

There is little point in blaming "leaders", they would not have been able to pursue their murderous goals had it not been for the acquiescing masses, brainwashed and corrupted by effective bread-and-circuses strategies, forever re-electing the same elites through one political party or the other. At the root is a universal primeval double standard - one rule for "us" and one for "them", for example one rule for the white-skinned and another for the dark skinned. Arthur Koestler suggested the only solution lies in "sanity drugs", as a substitute for the multitude of poisons humans otherwise consume, a suggestion unlikely to be accepted...

And while what has been done in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, to the American Indian, to the Australian aboriginal, to African herdsmen, or to rice farmers of southeast Asia can hardly be undone, knights in shiny armor never die, not until the last non-believer, the last tree and the last drop of water are gone. The criminal insanity of ecocide and mass destruction is not unique to any particular political or religious system, its universality suggests the species "Homo Sapiens" is very ill and will take no remedies.

When Seneca - the Roman 'Arbiter Elegantium' - heard of his death sentence, he wrote Nero with his last breath: "Dear Caesar - go on and kill, rape and pillage but, I besiege you, spare us your obscene poetry and dull songs!

On reading this letter, the Emperor collapsed.

Andrew Glikson


>From Scripps Howard News Service, 26 March 2003

By Michael Fumento

"It is the worst medical disaster I have ever seen," the Dean of Medicine at the Chinese University in Hong Kong told a prominent Asian newspaper. This irresistible quote was then shot 'round the world by other media, seeking desperately to hype the "mysterious killer pneumonia" or "super-pneumonia." But a bit of knowledge and perspective will kill this panic.

Start with those scary tags. "Mysterious" in modern medicine usually means we haven't yet quite identified the cause, although it appears we have now done so here. What's been officially named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) appears to be one or more strains of coronavirus, commonly associated with colds.

"Killer pneumonia" is practically a redundancy, since so many types of pneumonia (there are over 50) do kill.
The real questions are: How lethal, how transmissible, and how treatable is this strain? And the answers leave no grounds for excitement, much less panic. Super?

At this writing, SARS appears to have killed 49 people out of 1323 afflicted according to the World Health Organization, a death rate of less than four percent. In Hong Kong, that alleged "worst medical disaster" has killed ten people out of 316 known victims. But since this only takes into account those ill enough to seek medical help, the actual ratio of deaths to infections is certainly far less.

In contrast, the 1918-1919 flu pandemic killed approximately a third of the 60 million afflicted.

Further, virtually all of the deaths have been in countries with horrendous health care, primarily mainland China. In the U.S., 40 people have been hospitalized with SARS. Deaths? Zero.

Conversely, other forms of pneumonia kill about 40,000 Americans yearly.


Each year millions of Americans alone contract the flu. Compare that with those 40 SARS cases and - well - you can't compare them. Further evidence that SARS is hard to catch is that health care workers and family members of victims are by far the most likely to become afflicted.


"There are few drugs and no vaccines to fight this pathogen," one wire service panted breathlessly. But there are also few drugs to fight any type of viral pneumonia, because we have very few antiviral medicines. Nevertheless, more become available each year and one of the oldest, ribavirin, appears effective against SARS.

So why all the fuss over this one strain of pneumonia?

First, never ignore the obvious: It does sell papers.

But an added feature to this scare is the cottage industry that's grown up around so-called "emerging infectious diseases." Some diseases truly fit the bill, with AIDS the classic example. Others, like West Nile Virus in North America, are new to a given area.

But there's fame, fortune, and big budgets in sounding the "emerging infection" alarm and warning of our terrible folly in being unprepared. The classic example is Ebola virus, which is terribly hard to catch, remains in Africa where it's always been, is now usually non-fatal, and - despite what reporters love to relate - does not turn the victims' internal organs "into mush."

Yet you'd almost swear that every outbreak of Ebola in Africa is actually taking place in Chicago. Laurie Garrett rode Ebola onto the bestseller list and talk show circuit with her book The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World out of Balance.

Since then, the U.S. government and various universities have also seen these faux plagues as budget boosters. The CDC publishes a journal called Emerging Infectious Diseases, though in any given issue it's hard to find an illness that actually fits the definition.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine just issued a report warning that we're grossly unprepared to deal with emerging pathogens. Soothingly, however, it adds that it's nothing that an injection of lots of tax dollars can't cure.

Meanwhile, a disease that emerged eons ago called malaria kills up to 2.7 million people yearly. Another, tuberculosis, kills perhaps three million more. Both afflict Americans, albeit at very low rates.

The big money and headlines may be in the so-called "emerging diseases," but the cataclysmic illnesses come from the same old (read: boring) killers. How do our priorities get so twisted? There's your mystery.

Copyright 2003 Scripps Howard News Service

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